Items tagged with manufacturing

Following the philosophy that it takes spending money to make money, Samsung Electronics announced plans to invest around 15.6 trillion won (around $14.7 billion in U.S. currency) to build a new chip manufacturing plant in South Korea. This qualifies as Samsung's biggest investment ever into a single semiconductor plant. Construction of the new facility will begin in the first half of next year in Pyeongtaek, located about 47 miles south of Seoul, and is expected to generate 150,000 jobs, according to Reuters. That's equivalent to around a third of the city's total population. If all goes to plan,... Read more...
Perhaps the breakup between Apple and Samsung on the manufacturing side won't last all that long, after all. It was recently reported that Apple was reducing its reliance on Samsung by giving coveted chip orders to TSMC for its upcoming iPhone 6 and other mobile devices, but now there are mumblings in the media that TSMC is losing orders. In a note to clients, KGI Securities analyst Michael Liu said it's likely that both Apple and Qualcomm will buy a bigger portion of 14nm smartphone chips from Samsung than TSMC beginning in the second half of 2015, Reuters reports. Liu didn't say where he was... Read more...
It's no secret that companies like to outsource production to overseas markets where labor is cheap and labor laws are often lax, to put it nicely. That isn't about to change, though it's nice to see companies move at least some of their manufacturing operations to U.S. soil, such as Motorola did when it started building Moto X devices in the state of Texas. Motorola isn't the only one looking stateside. Apple in November of last year announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Arizona that it expects to create some 2,000 jobs, and now we've learned that Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) is... Read more...
Amazon isn't taking any chances with our future robotic overlords. To show that it's willing to play ball under a mechanical regime, Jeff Bezos recently went on "60 Minutes" and unveiled plans to use delivery drones to drop off packages to flesh and blood customers (or "servants," as robots will call them after the uprising). Of course, the logistics of drones is still a ways off, but in the interim, Amazon is turning to robot helpers in its warehouses. The e-commerce site is putting to use its acquisition of Kiva Systems, a company that builds these robot things that can zip shelves full of merchandise... Read more...
It looks like Apple is trying to drum up some good will and earn brownie points as of late by expanding its manufacturing presence in the U.S. Following a recent announcement that its revamped Mac Pro will be assembled in the Texas, Apple now says it's planning to erect a manufacturing facility further west in Airzona. Mesa is the lucky destination within Arizona where the plant will go. It's expected to create at least 700 jobs during the first year alone, along with 1,300 openings for construction workers. That's 2,000 jobs, more than a third of which are long-term positions. "This new plant... Read more...
Boy, math sure can be a buzz kill sometimes. For example, what a boon to the U.S. economy it would be if Apple suddenly decided to start building its iPhones stateside rather than outsourcing production to China. Unfortunately, if you crunch the numbers, such a move is cost prohibitive, even for a company that makes as much money as Apple. Tim Worstall over at Forbes wore out his calculator adding up the various costs of moving production to the U.S. based on some rough and not so rough estimates, and the final figure is in the billions. Before we get there, let's have a look at some lower numbers.... Read more...
One of the greatest obstacles standing between chip manufacturers and the pursuit of smaller, faster, processors is the lack of a proper light source. Current chips are etched using a deep ultraviolet wavelength of 193nm, but at a 28nm semiconductor process geometry, we've reached the limits of what a 193nm wavelength is small enough to etch, even when using immersion lithography (in which the chip is immersed in water). Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) has been pegged as the most likely replacement for current 193nm technology, but repeated problems with ramping EUV have left it stalled on... Read more...
3D printing is an exciting technology to track, in large part because of the implications of a mature 3D printing ecosystem wherein 3D printers are inexpensive enough for the average household to have a good one and there are enough designs out there for people to print whatever they need. Small-scale manufacturing will be revolutionized. A researcher at Michigan Technological University did a study to determine the financial feasibility of at-home 3D printing versus purchasing products online. They looked at how much it cost to make 20 different products at home using a RepRap 3D... Read more...
Apple may be closer than previously thought to using Liquidmetal’s technology to manufacture casings for its mobile devices. In a patent filing, a company called “Crucible Intellectual Properties, LLC” (which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liquidmetal dedicated to Apple work) laid claim to a manufacturing process for creating “bulk amorphous alloy sheets”, also known as bulk metallic glass (BMG). The process, called “float glass”, involves two layers of molten metal, and the result is a glass-like metal that allegedly would be strong, incredibly lightweight,... Read more...
It's been awhile since we've heard about worker suicides taking place at Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) and we hoped it would stay that way. Unfortunately, it appears that three more individuals may have decided to end their lives, something that has been an ongoing problem at Foxconn amid reports of poor working conditions. These are three separate incidents that occurred within the past four weeks, according to PCWorld. The first occured on April 27 when a worker employed at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou fell to his death. It happened again at the same plant on May 14. In between those two incidents,... Read more...
There's a great deal of buzz surrounding the Google Nexus 7 tablet announced at Google I/O yesterday. At $199, the 7" tablet is a steal, given that it packs a quad-core CPU, 8GB of storage, a  1200x800 screen, and a front-facing camera. In a clear shot across Apple's bow, Google is prominently highlighting the fact that the tablet is "Designed and Manufactured in the USA" as opposed to Apple products, which are "Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China*." The Nexus 7 isn't entirely manufactured in the US, but most of its components are. Semiconductors and the tablet body are shipped... Read more...
To celebrate its third anniversary as a chip manufacturing foundry, Globalfoundries over the weekend announced an agreement with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) to buy out all remaining shares to achieve full independence. Under the amended agreement, AMD will continue to be one of Globalfoundries' "primary and strategic customers," only without a stake in the foundry, which is now wholly owned by the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC). "Today marks the start of a new era for Globalfoundries as it becomes a truly independent foundry," said Globalfoundries CEO Ajit Manocha. "Globalfoundries... Read more...
Texas Instruments, maker of the popular OMAP processor line and those pricey calculators high school math teachers insist their students bring to class, announced fourth quarter revenue of $3.42 billion, net income of $298 billion, and earnings per share of 25 cents, all of which exceeded the company's expectations. "Revenue in the fourth quarter was higher than expected across all our major product lines, reinforcing our belief that we're at the bottom of this downturn. I'm pleased to say that despite the downturn and the lower factory utilization that came with it, cash flow from operations was... Read more...
It takes money to make money, and it takes it a whole bunch of cash to make semiconductors. Case in point: Samsung is reportedly holding a massive debt sale in which it will sell about $1 billion in bonds to fund its chip plant operations in the U.S. It's the first major overseas debt sale for Samsung in over 10 years, Reuters reports. Among other things, Samsung supplies semiconductor chips to Apple for its iPhone and iPad tablet PC devices, and by selling 5-year bonds, the company could ensure it has enough funds to keep its Austin, Texas plant firing on all cylinders. Samsung is hoping to secure... Read more...
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